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There are different types of deductions which individuals can claim to reduce their taxable income.
In order to claim work-related tax deductions, the expenses must have to meet three criteria. Firstly, all the expenses have to be paid by the individual, without being reimbursed by the employer. Secondly, they must be directly related to earning your income. Finally, there must be a record of the expenses (i.e. a receipt).
There are various different expenses which can fall under this category.
- Vehicle and travel expenses: Commuting between different locations but not usual travel between home and work
- Clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning expenses: Cost of work uniform which is distinct and unique (i.e. has a specific logo)
- Self-education expenses: Any courses or study associated with employees current role, such as textbooks
- Tools and other equipment: If you purchase tools or equipment, then a deduction for some or all the cost could be claimed
The cost of earning interest, dividends or other investment income can also be claimed. This can include:
- Interest charged on money borrowed to invest
- Investment property ex[enses
- Investing magazines and subscriptions
- Money you paid for investment advice
Home office expenses
A portion of the costs associated with installing your home office can be deducted. The process is now much easier due to COVID-19. It allows people to claim 80 cents per hour for all running expenses. Additionally, people living in the same house can claim this individually, there is no need for a dedicated office.
There are also other deductions available. These include:
- Union fees
- The cost of managing your tax affairs
- Income protection insurance (If not through super)
- Personal super contributions
- Gifts and donations to organisations that are endorsed by the ATO as deductible gift recipients
Getting your tax refund back is exciting, but as tempting as it is to splurge, consider other ways you can put that money to good use. It is easy to get caught treating your return as extra money when you shouldn’t see it any differently than your regular paycheck. Give the money a purpose by thinking about your personal financial situation and determining your needs.
An emergency fund can make all the difference if a difficult financial situation comes up, acting as a backup in the case of an emergency such as losing your job or medical costs. Building an emergency fund with enough money to cover at least three months worth of expenses is a good starting point. Make sure the money is added to a high-interest savings account to utilise compound interest. If you are contributing regularly to this fund, adding money from your tax return can boost it above schedule.
Make debt repayments:
With a bit more money at your disposal, now is the time to make repayments on debts you may have. Start with the higher interest debts and work down, your interest repayments will drop when you lower your outstanding balance. These debts can be things like credit cards, personal loans, outstanding bills or mortgage repayments.
The Government is focused on encouraging older Australians to better grow and secure their personal retirement funds.
Retirees exempt from work test
An exemption from the work test will be established to allow retired Australians aged between 65-74 who have total super balances below $300,000 in their first year that they do not meet the work test criteria, to make voluntary payments into their superannuation funds.
Retirement income strategy
Superannuation trustees will now be required to produce a retirement income strategy for their superannuation fund members. This is due to new amendments to the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.
The Government is also set to revise the Corporations Act 2001 to ensure providers of retirement income products will supply standardised and simplified reporting to assist with more informed decision making.
Pension Work Bonus
Increase in funding to the Pension Work Bonus will mean that pensioners can now receive up to $300 per fortnight before their pension payments are affected. The Bonus will also cover self-employed individuals, who will be entitled to receive up to $7,800 per year without reducing their pension payments.
Funding for older workers program
Additional funding will be provided over four years to form the Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers program, starting from 2018-19. This measure will focus on supporting employees aged 45 to 70 to remain working for longer.
Improved skills for mature age Australians
Funding will be provided over the next five years to help mature age individuals to remain up to date with changing and new skills needed to remain relevant in their workplace.
Chances are, if you have had more than one job, you will most likely have multiple super accounts.
Having multiple super accounts means more fees and less savings. Consolidating all your super accounts into one account can help you to keep track of your super, reduce unnecessary paperwork, and most importantly, save on costs.
The first step in consolidating your super is selecting a fund to move all of your super savings into. When comparing funds, consider funds with lower fees; suitable investment options; extra benefits; funds which have performed well over the last 5 years; and provide appropriate insurance cover for your needs.
Once you have selected a new super fund, you may need to open an account with the fund and provide your employer with the new details. You will then need to rollover super to your chosen fund either online through myGov or you can transfer your super by using a form and sending it to your chosen fund. Some funds have an online process too.
Before consolidating your super, be sure to check the impact on your retirement benefit if you are in a defined benefit fund. It is also good practice to check that you are not losing benefits, such as insurance, and look up the cost of exit fees of your old fund. If you are unsure if consolidating your super is right for you, seek professional advice.
The ATO has provided further guidance for healthcare practitioners dealing with lump sum payments from healthcare centre operators.
The Tax Office is concerned with some practitioners who have received lump sum payments and have incorrectly treated the payments as a capital gain. These practitioners have then applied the small business CGT concessions to reduce the capital gain, in many instances reducing it to nil.
The ATO has clarified that a lump sum payment from a healthcare centre operator is more likely to be ordinary income of the practitioner for providing services to their patients from the healthcare centre rather than a capital gain. Practitioners are required to include the full amount of the lump sum payment in their assessable income.
Healthcare practitioners who are considering any arrangements that relate to a lump sum payment for commencing or providing ongoing healthcare services should note that the ATO is looking closely at these arrangements to determine if they are compliant with income tax laws and whether the anti-avoidance provisions may apply.
The Tax Office is aware that some practitioners are using a private ruling that was issued to another taxpayer, however, you can only rely on a private ruling if you applied for it.
Healthcare practitioners entering or planning to enter into an arrangement of this type are encouraged to seek independent professional advice, ask the ATO for a private ruling or make a voluntary disclosure to reduce any penalties. Please contact our office if you have any questions about these arrangements.
We are pleased to announce that Deanne Thomas & Co is expanding with the opening of our new office in Melbourne today.
Our Lonsdale street office will ensure that we are delivering the best possible service to our Melbourne-based clients, as well as enabling us to grow in areas of strategic focus for our firm. Megan Thomas will be staffing the office on most days, and meetings are available with Deanne Thomas, Peggy Choo or Sarah Watt, by appointment.
All correspondence and telephone enquires will remain a function of our Frankston office.
We are very excited about this latest development, and look forward to welcoming you to our Lonsdale Street office.
If we do not see you before Christmas, we wish you and your family a happy and safe Christmas and New Year.
From the team at Deanne Thomas & Co
If the three most important things in real estate are “location, location, location,” the first three rules of business are “cash, cash, cash.” It is necessary to be profitable, but “profit” is a number that shows up on your accounts at the end of the year; cash is the money you have in the bank. In a small business, it is cash that determines whether you can pay your bills.
Businesses can’t get money in unless they get their invoices out. However, many business people delay sending out their bills. This may be because they feel uncomfortable asking someone for money, afraid of being challenged on how much they’ve billed, or just too busy working to bill for it. The longer you wait to send out your invoices, the greater the chance you won’t get paid.
No matter what business you’re in, you’re going to have a lag between outgo and income. If you’re a consultant, you have to pay for your phone, stationery, marketing materials, and rent before you get your first client. Once you’ve got them, you’re not going to see complete payment for at least 30-60 days after you finish a project. Things are much worse if you’re a manufacturer. You’ve got to pay for raw materials and equipment many months before you’ll see final payment.
Draw up a cash flow projection. Even if you don’t write up a budget or income statement, it is a good idea to sketch out when you expect money to come in and when you need money to go out. In your projection, be sure to include:
Cash receipts, including income from sales and income from financingCash disbursements, including all expenses (cost of goods, operating expenses, loan payments, income tax payments, etc.)
Net cash flow — opening cash balance plus receipts, minus disbursements
- Ending cash balance
Small teams provide many benefits to both employees and employers. In comparison to larger teams, small teams are shown to have higher levels of productivity and effective communication. However, a vital component to the success of these teams relates to the support and coordination provided by management. Ways to maximise your small team’s efforts can include:
If your employees understand how the other functions of your business work and how their work will directly impact all aspects of the business, it can provide them with more responsibility. It allows for all staff to work towards a common goal. The key is to provide staff with holistic training and education that fosters greater understanding.
Delegate with descriptive job roles
Delegation can provide employees with guidance on what needs to be achieved to reach the end goal. It can provide clear direction for staff while employers can oversee budget and timing schedules. It also allows the employer to focus on other opportunities such as business growth.
Break down large goals into small, achievable tasks
It is important to keep in mind the overall strategic goals when completing daily tasks. The daily tasks set should directly correspond with the larger goals. Reframe the way your employees can view large goals by sticking to the SMART principle that includes specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely objectives.
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